We’ve put together a weekend adventure that embraces history, engages your senses, and introduces you to hidden gems and unique places to stay. The best part? You’re within walking distance to it all!
Drop off your luggage and stroll downtown to get a taste of what awaits you in Placerville, Frannie’s Farm Table restaurant is a perfectly delicious way to kick off your weekend. Enjoy the seasonal menu with fresh and innovative cuisine while upstairs overlooking Historic Main Street.
The evening doesn’t have to stop there! Head over to The Green Room Social Club down the street for live music in an intimate setting.
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Folks in Placerville take that very seriously, and you’ll find plenty of options to fuel your adventures.
Saturday morning is an ideal time to hit the El Dorado Trail. The trail is a two-lane paved trail from Camino Heights to the town of El Dorado. It traverses the path of what used to be the Southern Pacific Railroad.
Jump on the El Dorado Trail on the west end of Main Street on the corner of Forni Road and Main Street. Once you get to Ray Lawyer Drive (3/4 mile), follow the trail signs to the left to get to the next section of the trail.
This section of the El Dorado Trail, the Trestle segment, refers to the beautiful Bridge high above Weber Creek. It’s less than a 3.5-mile round trip from trailhead to bridge and back. There are plenty of places to rest and savor the views or snap a selfie. The varied scenery features sunshine, shaded sections with plenty of trees, wildlife, and even some exercise equipment along the way!
Next, cross the street and continue to the overpass. Less than a block on the left is the El Dorado County Veterans Monument. This monument hosts impressive displays of appreciation for deserving veterans and their families.
The El Dorado County Museum on Placerville Drive is less than a mile from here. The museum has artifacts and displays showcasing El Dorado County history; it includes an authentic Studebaker wheelbarrow, a Shay Locomotive undergoing restoration, and much more. Changing exhibits and guided tours are available, and reservations are recommended.
Lots of great lunch choices are on your way back to Downtown Placerville. But if you are in the mood for a Texas-style BBQ, then Hog Wild is the place for you. Main Street Tap House has a large outdoor patio and spacious indoor seating with a diverse menu featuring shareable appetizers, delicious flatbreads, tacos, burgers, and more.
Whether you’re new to the wine scene or an oenophile, we recommend the Downtown Wine Walk after lunch. Toogood Cellars and Batia Vineyards Tasting Room are both located on Main Street, and Nello Olivo is a short 10-minute walk on Bee Street. It’s in the wine cellar of the historic Sequoia Mansion and offers fabulous wines by the glass or flight, each with its own unique style.
Freshen up for dinner and head back to Main Street, where choices abound. The popular upscale The Independent Restaurant and Bar offers an outstanding American fusion menu, but it’s best to make a reservation in advance.
Looking to keep it casual? Bricks Eats & Drinks is aptly named because it’s in a historic building constructed almost entirely of bricks. It offers fun comfort foods in a contemporary pub-like setting, with plenty of appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, pasta, and salads. Of course, the more serious-minded eater can still get a ribeye steak, grilled lamb chops, or a beautifully crafted wild Scottish salmon.
Take some time after breakfast to stroll Historic Main Street. You’ll find unique shops, antiques, fine art galleries, a toy store, and more. Don’t miss Placerville Hardware. It’s the oldest hardware store west of the Mississippi, complete with rolling ladders, rope by the foot, gifts, and gold panning supplies.
For the history buffs, the Fountain & Tallman Museum is located in a stone building dating back to 1852. Today it’s home to artifacts and exhibits about Placerville’s history and prominent figures of the past.
Want to take a deeper dive into the region’s rough and rowdy golden past? Book a guided walking tour through the museum with a knowledgeable docent in period clothing.
Nearby lunch options to consider include Main Street Melters, known for massive creative sandwiches and outdoor deck, or Sweetie Pies, located in a quaint Victorian home built in 1865. Often lauded as “The Best Breakfast in Placerville,” this charming café offers terrific lunch items, too. The Chile Relleno Casserole and quiche are local favorites.
The final stop on your Placerville adventure is Gold Bug Park & Mine, just a mile from Main Street. As you enter the 352′ drift of this historic hard rock mine, enjoy the feel of the cool air brushing against your face. The park features a stamp mill, museum, blacksmith, gem panning, gift shop, and hiking trails over 61 acres of natural flora and fauna.
Places to stay in Placerville within walking distance
Enjoy warm Scottish hospitality at the historic GlenMorey Bed & Breakfast built in 1859. The one-story estate is surrounded by two acres of wooded glen (hence the name GlenMorey!) Rooms are comfortably furnished and decorated with Scottish antiques, and just a short walk to downtown Placerville. Several rooms have more than one bed which is rare in a bed & breakfast inn. This hidden gem is child and pet friendly.
Situated on a beautifully landscaped 3/4-acre lot, The Season Bed & Breakfast Inn is a dog-friendly option just one block from Placerville’s Main Street. There are two separate cottages behind the main house (built in 1859), surrounded by a private and huge perennial garden with roses, fruit trees, butterflies, and exotic plants. You’ll find lots of grass for dogs, and it’s completely and securely fenced to keep the deer out, so it will even accommodate large dogs.
If you’re the type that wants to be in the middle of the action, then the Historic Cary House is the place for you. Located on Main Street in downtown Placerville and decorated with spectacular period pieces and antiques dating back to 1857, the Cary House has hosted many past famous guests such as Buffalo Bill, Levi Strauss, John Studebaker, Bette Davis, and Ulysses S. Grant.
Top photo courtesy of Instagram user mrsscpierce.